Mario Sznol, MD, from Yale University, discusses where the field of immune-oncology will be 1 and 5 years from now at the 34th Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Programs of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC 2019).
It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing that is very exciting. We started out with an intratumoral immunotherapy workshop, a number of agents were presented, the day before, there was an industry session going through multi-targeted agents. We’ve gone through new areas of immuno-biology. They keynote speakers spoke about new imaging methods that would lead us to insights into how immunotherapy works, the immuno-biology of tumors. We had standing presentations at the presidential session on novel targets…We’ve heard about a bi-specific agent, cell therapies. It is almost impossible to list 1 single, most interesting approach.
We have sessions here on high impact clinical trials, so new areas where these drugs might be active. New drugs, first-in-man drugs, that are being presented here and showing activity. There are also new combination trials.
The field is so large now that we can’t point to any one specific area that is hot or hotter than others. We are excited about all of it.
Obviously the most active drugs are the anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 agents. The cell therapies are really advancing. It’s hard to predict where we will be 1 year from now. We are seeing more activity with these PD3 engagers.
All of us now are looking at wide open field in terms of the sorts of agents that are being developed and it is very hard to predict which of these agents are going to be most interesting a year from now. Now, there are so many agents, it is hard to predict which ones are going to be active in the clinic and show promise. Many of them are showing signs of activity, but knowing exactly where the field will be in a year is really hard to predict at this point.
Five years from now, we’ll be able to address resistance in some of the core tumors – so the patients who don’t respond to anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1, there will be a number of agents that can produce responses, induce immune responses in those tumors, and produce tumor progression. The cell therapies will advance substantially over these coming years. We’ll see a bunch of new and old classes of cytokines into the clinic. I don’t think we are ever going to see an agent like anto-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 that has so much activity across multiple malignancies, but I think we’ll see multiple agents showing activity and we’ll be making progress in improving benefit in subsets of patients in multiple malignancies.